EU-China talks hinge on minimum module price


pv magazine has learned the ongoing trade negotiations aimed at resolving the EU-China solar trade dispute hinge on the level of a proposed minimum price for modules.

Sources close to the talks have told pv magazine the Brussels delegation proposed a minimum price of €0.65 per watt (US$0.85/W), an offer which is being resisted by the Chinese.

The Beijing negotiators say some German companies already sell modules in the EU for less than €0.58/W and have indicated a minimum price of €0.50 would be more acceptable.

The clock is ticking on the negotiations ahead of an Aug. 5 deadline after which the provisional antidumping duties of 11.8% currently being applied to Chinese made cells, modules and wafers in the EU would rise significantly, to as much as 67.9% on a company by company basis.

An aspect of the burgeoning trade war which has often been overlooked is that, on top of the anti dumping duties, the European Commission is also due to take a decision on August 5 about whether to apply separate duties in relation to the state subsidy aspect of Chinese made solar products. If no agreement is reached by trade negotiators, the anti subsidy aspect of the dispute could see additional duties applied to Chinese made products which could be retroactively applied for up to 90 days.

With that in mind, pv magazine has learned major Chinese manufacturers including JA Solar and Yingli have planned no production volumes for import to the EU this month.

Industry sources expect a compromise decision on minimum pricing to be reached by the August deadline or by December at the latest because the end of the year would see the anti dumping duties made permament.

With trade talks ongoing, some Chinese solar manufacturers, including Tier 1 suppliers, were shipping products into Croatia until yesterday to get around the anti dumping duties.

As of midnight Monday, Croatia became a full member of the EU and from today onwards, any solar products stockpiled in the country can be sold throughout the political bloc free of duties.